The Response to and Recovery From Maximum-Strength and -Power Training in Elite Track and Field Athletes

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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There is a great deal of research on the responses to resistance training; however, information on the responses to strength and power training conducted by elite strength and power athletes is sparse.


To establish the acute and 24-h neuromuscular and kinematic responses to Olympic-style barbell strength and power exercise in elite athletes.


Ten elite track and field athletes completed a series of 3 back-squat exercises each consisting of 4 × 5 repetitions. These were done as either strength or power sessions on separate days. Surface electromyography (sEMG), bar velocity, and knee angle were monitored throughout these exercises and maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), jump height, central activation ratio (CAR), and lactate were measured pre, post, and 24 h thereafter.


Repetition duration, impulse, and total work were greater (P < .01) during strength sessions, with mean power being greater (P < .01) after the power sessions. Lactate increased (P < .01) after strength but not power sessions. sEMG increased (P < .01) across sets for both sessions, with the strength session increasing at a faster rate (P < .01) and with greater activation (P < .01) by the end of the final set. MVC declined (P < .01) after the strength and not the power session, which remained suppressed (P < .05) 24 h later, whereas CAR and jump height remained unchanged.


A greater neuromuscular and metabolic demand after the strength and not power session is evident in elite athletes, which impaired maximal-force production for up to 24 h. This is an important consideration for planning concurrent athlete training.

Howatson is with the Dept of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Brandon is with the National Cricket Performance Centre, Loughborough, UK. Hunter is with the School of Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK.

Address author correspondence to Glyn Howatson at